Despite claims of both sides that they won't talk about trying to sign Albert Pujols to an extension until after the end of the 2011 season, the Cardinals must address the problem before a bidding war starts.
I find it doubtful that anything will get done during spring training. But the Cardinals need to set their sights on a brief but intense negotiating session at the All-Star Break.
The word is that Pujols wanted a piece of ownership in the Redbirds but that it was dismissed as being "too complicated." At their press conference, the Cardinals seemed to indicate some interest in the idea. Now they have more than four months to try to figure out how to make that work and offer Albert their best deal when the majors take a three-day break.
It wouldn't really be a distraction because it would really be a yes or no situation for Pujols. And then he could focus on playing once the second half starts.
Regardless of what he says about not approving a trade, the Cardinals need to know if they can re-sign Pujols before the Aug. 1 trade deadline.
If they know they can't sign him and they are hopelessly out of contention, should we really believe that Pujols wouldn't appreciate the chance to try to go to the playoffs with another club? If the Cardinals could bag a couple of decent prospects from the Yankees or Red Sox, it would probably be in everyone's best interests to deal him while the Cardinals could get SOMETHING for him.